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Concert Review: Ed Sheeran

By Xpress Mag Staff

  • Ed Sheeran performed Tuesday August 26 at the SAP Center in San Jose. Brenna Cruz, Photographer/ Special to XPress
  • Rudimental’s trumpet player, Mark Crown, hypes up the crowd near the end of their performance. Brenna Cruz, Photographer/ Special to XPress
  • Ed Sheeran explaining the story behind one of his songs. Brenna Cruz, Photographer/ Special to XPress

Written by Olympia Zampathas

Photos by Brenna Cruz

 

For a Tuesday evening concert and over an hour and a half before the opening act is scheduled to begin, lines on multiple floors wrapping around the SAP Center arena in San Jose are jam-packed with excited fans, mothers, and boyfriends waiting to be let inside to see the British musician that is Ed Sheeran.

Sheeran, whose new album “X” has been topping the charts in the United Kingdom and United States, and who won a VMA for Best Male Video for his song “Sing” last week, played to thousands Tuesday, August 26. Inside, the excited crowded were funneled into various sections of the performance center as they awaited the opening act, Rudimental.

While not a big name in the United States, the band brings the energy and enthusiasm characteristic of major rockstars with high fives and grooving to their own music. The band, who won both the Brit Award and Mobo Award for best album in 2013, features two lead vocalists, a trumpet player, killer drummer, and guitar player, with unique and energetic style that flavored their set.

The band exits the stage with an emotional sing-a-long, engaging band and audience alike and paving the way for the main act. As a silhouette emerges from the back center stage, the crowd explodes into a screaming fest and my eardrums are shot.

Despite the crowd flocking to see him, and his recent VMA win, Sheeran is nothing but humble, praising his opening act and describing it as an honor to follow them.

As his performance begins, the crowd surges forward to pack the standing room-only portion of the arena.

Save for the guitar hung on his shoulder, a microphone and Looper pedal front and center, Ed stands alone on the stage. He starts out with an upbeat melody on his guitar and lets the instrument fall to his side, but the sound continues from the Looper. He begins to belt out “I’m a Mess” off of his most recent album, “X,” the crowd echoing him, word for word.

His dynamic performance a mix of live-recorded vocals and guitar, rapping, bits of beat-boxing, taking pictures of the audience with his phone and a bulky, cartoon-esque Polaroid-like camera he purchased in Japan, and the fast paced singing he is known for continues for the next hour and a half. The musician/songwriter plays “I See Fire,” featured in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” as fiery visuals are shown behind him before he abruptly exits the stage at the end of his set.

Desperate for more, fans chant, scream, and clap until he reappears on the stage for a 15-minute rendition of “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.” He performs a four-song long encore, ending with a radio-favorite, “Sing.” He leaves audience members with the message to never stop singing, wherever they are, wherever they go. As people filter out of the arena, a wave of appreciation for the talent I witnessed comes over me and I head to the car completely content, happy, and a little hoarse.

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Summer Mixtape: New Songs Each Week!

By Xpress Mag Staff

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Photo by Nadine Quitania

Summer is officially here, so what better way to celebrate than with some new tunes? We’ve compiled for your listening pleasure, a rad playlist to kick off the summer. We’ll post a Soundcloud playlist each and every week with our favorite tracks to share with you and your friends. This week’s playlist features over 35 tracks from Little Dragon, Ta-ku, IAMNOBODI, and many more. So here’s to long road trips, afternoons at the beach, barbecues, and late nights with friends. Listen here, and make sure to follow us on Soundcloud and keep an eye out for what else we have in store.

Against the Grain

By Xpress Mag Staff

Speakeasy Ales and Lagers Brewery, located at 1195 Evans Avenue in the Bayview District. Apr. 6. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress

Speakeasy Ales and Lagers Brewery, located at 1195 Evans Avenue in the Bayview District. Apr. 6. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress

Written by Katie Mullen
Photo by Tony Santos

It’s a beautiful Saturday in San Francisco. The sun has come out to play and so have you. You and a group of friends decide that the only thing to compliment the beautiful day at hand is a well-crafted beer. You guys are in luck, you live in a city dotted with some of the finest micro-breweries out there.
Beer has quickly gained popularity in the past seven to ten. More people are learning about it, attempting to make it, and simply drinking more of it. Home brewing was not made legal in the United States until 1978. This is not to say that home brewed beers were a pigment of the imagination though, they were just a well-kept secret.
Now, it seems that every other person you talk to will tell you how they are attempting to brew at home or that on of their friends are. It use to be taboo for girls to drink beer, it was a drink for manly men. It was the alcohol of football games and arm wrestling tournaments, and besides it had too many calories for girls to drink it, right? Well not anymore.
Beer has become a coveted and respected drink. Its no longer just the drink of beer pong and beer bongs. It is a hand-crafted alcohol that people smell before tasting to get a whiff of the hops in it, they sip it and attempt to decipher hints of coffee or hazelnut, perhaps there is a hint of fruitiness or citrus.
Perhaps the most trending type of beer is the infamous IPA, short for India pale ale. You may have head people say, “oh, its so hoppy, I love it!” and may of you may have shook your head agreeing but really had no idea what on earth they were referring to. Well let me break it down for you. Hops are one of the few main ingredients found in all beers. It is simply the flower of a hop plant, which is part of the hemp family. It gives off a bitter taste, which is what many IPA lovers search for. Shockingly, there are over three hundred different types of hops grown anywhere from Germany to California and Washington.
Hops were originally used to balance the beer. Grains that are used in beers are extremely sweet and sugary. So, by adding hops and bitterness, brewers were able to create more of a balanced flavor that was less overwhelming for the drinker. The IPA took that a step further to overpower a beer with the hops.
Here is some information about IPAs to impress your friends with. India pale ales came into existence around the 18th century. A man named George Hodgson would ship beer, his pale ales, from England into India. Because the voyage was long and hops acts as a natural preservative, he would add extra hops in order to help the beer stay fresh. The taste because increasingly demanded and born from the pale ale came India pale ale we know and love today.
Currently, the West Coast IPA has become a new way to brew using the process of dry hopping. Which in short gives you the aroma and flavor of the different hops creating different tastes in beer. This is why no two IPAs will taste the same. And our recommendation would be to try them all!
San Francisco is proud to be the home of Anchor Steam Brewery but it is also home to many other amazing breweries that have somehow remained under the radar for many years. With beer now coming into the social scene, they are gaining popularity and foot traffic but they are still considered local gems.
Some of these breweries are Cellarmaker Brewing Company of Howard St., ThirstyBear Brewing company in the Financial District, and a Giants fan’s home away from home: 21st Amendment. But at the top of the local beer guru’s list would have to be Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, Triple VooDoo Brewery, and Southern Pacific Brewing.
Speakeasy is a locally brewed and mostly locally sold beer. It specialized in Ales and Lagers. Ale beers are brewed from malted barley and yeast. It is fermented very fast, which gives it a fuller taste and is often times fruity. These also contain hops to balance the malt. Lagers ferment much more slowly than ales. They are brewed with bottom fermenting yeast then are stored at cool temperatures to mature their taste. The hops are much easier to taste in a lager than in an ale.
Speakeasy is a fun place to spend a day. Sampling beers and talking to the servers and bartenders that could talk to you for days about the beers they currently have and beers they use to carry. “I love going to Speakeasy not only because I love their beer but because I always seem to learn something about beer whether it be about how it is made, how it is processed, or what is in it,” says Michael Herndon, a previous SF State student now living in the city. If you are interested in the process of how ales and lagers are brewed, the tour would be the place for you to go. But, take a pen and a notepad because brewing is a long and complicated process. Luck for us, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers has it down to a science, literally.
Next on the list would be Triple Voodoo Brewery and Tap Room. If the name alone isn’t enough to draw you in there, you are in luck because I have more information for you. Berkley student and beer enthusiast, Derek Campbell says, “Every time I come into the city, I make it a priority to come into Voodoo. I hate to be corny but I really do think they cast a spell on me or put a potion in their brews or something.”
What is cool about Triple Voodoo is that you can have food from local restaurants delivered to you as you are sitting and enjoying a nice, cold, well-crafted beer. The brewery has sixteen beers on tap that rotate, meaning that they are not all available year round. This is kind of fun because if you are use to drinking a beer but it is not on tap when you go in, you are forced to step outside the box.
And finally, probably the least known and talked about brewery would be Southern Pacific Brewery. This brewery is awesome because it is not what you are expecting when you see the building. It also has some tasty food to compliment the beers they have on tap. One woman’s favorite is the Porter, it is on tap and when that tap runs out, it is gone for a while. “I literally cried one time when I came in here and the Porter tap was gone,” says Raimi Mitchell-Young who lives in the city. “The thought of it was the only thing that got me through my day, it is the best beer I have yet to find in the city, and it was gone!” She also went on to say that the black bean burger and sage fries are to die for.
These breweries only scratch the surface of what San Francisco has to offer the beer obsessed individuals. But to get into it would take hours to read through. The best advice is to start at a microbrewery, spark up a conversation with a bartender or fellow beer drinker, and ask them what other breweries they enjoy. Then the fun part comes, go explore them! There are so many beers out there that it can be daunting, but the more you try, the more you will know and the more you can narrow the search for your personal perfect beer. Beware of the sours though, rumor has it that they grow on you if you can drink a full glass in one sitting, emphasis on the “if”… Now go forth and taste!

Recap: SF’s Street Food Festival

By Xpress Mag Staff

 

Written by Catherine Uy
Photos by Hillary Smith and Catherine Uy

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  • Beef pho rolls from Rice Paper Scissors. Photo by Catherine Uy
  • Azalina's meatball sub was hearty and delicious, according to one attendee. Photo by Hillary Smith
  • Salumeria's fried chicken drew a constant line of hungry customers throughout the festival. Photo by Hillary Smith
  • Mexican macaroons with chocolate from La Victoria Bakery Corp. Photo by Catherine Uy
  • The food festival brought out an array of colorful street performers. This man, for example, dressed as a giant dancing skeleton. Photo by Catherine Uy
  • Asian street food truck Chairman served authentic steam and baked buns nonstop at the annual event. But Chairman is also known for its pork burgers, which are sweet and delicious, this couple said. Photo by Hillary Smith
  • A cook from Kama Food Lab prepares “super samosas.” Photo by Catherine Uy
  • A musician entertains festival-goers as they wait in line for their food. Photo by Catherine Uy
  • Cholita Linda' Peruvian street food tent was quick at serving up freshly made carne asada and baja fish tacos, which were ordered almost every minute. Photo by Hillary Smith

Last Saturday, thousands gathered to celebrate La Cocina’s 6th Annual (and final) Street Food Festival. The widely anticipated event took place in the Mission District, and showcased more than 80 Bay Area vendors. With free admission, delicious food, and drinks at cheap prices, it was every foodie’s dream come true.

As a fellow foodie, I felt obligated to try almost every food truck and stand. The variety of food available included everything from El Sur’s braised short rib empanadas to Rice Paper Scissors’ beef pho rolls. I cried a little inside after I finished eating El Sur’s empanadas. They were light, fluffy, and bursting with flavor. The beef pho rolls from Rice Paper Scissors were a unique twist on Vietnamese spring rolls. Instead of using rice paper, beef and lettuce were wrapped in thick rice noodles. It tastes exactly like you are eating a bowl of beef pho, but without the broth and extra toppings.

According to the event’s website, this was La Cocina’s last street food festival. Word is that they’re looking for another location to host their epic block party. So, if you missed out on last weekend, don’t fret! Most of the vendors are from San Francisco. Here’s a list of our top 8 favorite vendors and where to find them on a regular basis.

  1. Rice Paper Scissors   1710 Mission Street 
  2. El Sur  Check their website for the van’s schedule.
  3. Namu Street Food Thursdays and Saturdays at the Ferry Building.
  4. 4505 Meats  1909 Mission Street
  5. Curry Up Now  659 Valenica Street
  6. A16 2355 Chestnut St
  7. Tacolicious 741 Valencia Street
  8. The Chairman Truck  Check their website for the truck’s weekly schedule.

Blind Ambition

By Xpress Mag Staff

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Written By Ben Tasner
Photos by Lorisa Salvatin

A child of two deaf parents, Meir Schneider, was born with cataracts, glaucoma, astigmatism, and nystagmus. As a young boy he underwent five unsuccessful surgeries that shattered and scarred his eye lenses. He was declared permanently blind. Despite being told that his condition was hopeless he was determined to see. Now he drives.
Schneider spent his childhood reading and performing schoolwork in Braille. At the age of seventeen his life changed dramatically when he met an instructor who introduced him to the Bates Method of eye exercises, a natural vision therapy developed by William Bates in the late nineteenth century.
Schneider diligently practiced the Bates Method and combined it with his own regiment of self-massage and movement. Within six months he began to recognize visual objects for the first time and today he holds an unrestricted California driver’s license.
“Working on my eyes was at first painful,” says Schneider, who attended SF State from 1978-79. “Then slowly as I built more and more vision it became more normal for me. We worked and I improved my vision from something like 20/2000 to today about 20/70.”
Schneider ability to see defies the basis of modern vision diagnosis. An optometrist might take one look at his eyes and immediately conclude that he is blind because his lenses admit less than one percent light. Yet he can read the eye chart and he drives throughout the Bay Area on a regular basis.
“To be in a place where I can drive is beyond anyone’s imagination,” says Schneider. “The day that I got my driver’s license was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It was like a prize. The biggest prize I could possibly get.”
Despite the rising rates of vision failure Schneider’s story of natural vision improvement runs cross current to the swell of traditional vision correction. The National Eye Institute reports the number of Americans who report some form of visual impairment is expected to double by 2030. But as the rates of vision failure continue to increase, mainstream medicine remains stagnant in its approach.
“Medicine does nothing about it,” says Schneider. “What happens with medicine is that they give you crutches to deal with it, but they are not doing anything to help the essential reason why vision gets worse.”
Schneider challenges the notion that vision failure is irreversible and the prolific tendency to over-correct through the use of lenses.
“The whole world is resistant,” says Schneider. “They say [vision failure] is a process of life, and that’s that.”
Medical professionals state nearsightedness, farsightedness and other refractive errors are a result of eye shape and a hardening of the lens, which cannot be changed. Schneider sites poor blood circulation to the head, stress, bad habits and environmental influences as the causes of most vision problems and believe that people can improve their vision if they explore these factors.
At his School for Self Healing on the corner of Santiago and 48th Street in San Francisco, Schneider, 59, analyzes habits like excessive close viewing, the prevalence of shoulder tension, and other symptoms of modern times, which have led to increasing rates of vision failure.
“When people were illiterate there were very few people with nearsightedness,” says Schneider. “When people started to read some of them became nearsighted, and when people used the computer many more become nearsighted.”
He has taken his experience and research, and translated it into a program of self-healing. He works with patients individually to improve their vision, leads group workshops periodically, and travels throughout the world helping others achieve the unthinkable.
“The reality is that traditional optometry and ophthalmology could do nothing for him,” says Erik Peper, professor at the Institute of Holistic Health at SF State, who met Schneider in 1976. “Here’s somebody who had horrible vision from birth, but he did not listen to a culture that told him he had no hope. He’s an exemplar of what is possible when we really have a drive and desire to achieve whatever we want.”
The exercises Schneider teaches draw on principles derived from the Bates method with the addition of massage, relaxation, and various forms of bodywork. The physical exercises are an important component of vision improvement because he says the eyes are a function of the body and cannot be treated separately, and blood flow to the eyes must be developed.
At his school near the ocean he has fourteen massage tables, a sauna, and a trampoline. Schneider leads his patients on Ocean Beach excursions and instructs them to walk backward in the sand. He wants people to activate muscles they rarely use and to relax the muscles they frequently use. He helps patients learn to isolate muscles and then unite the parts.
After relaxation has been cultivated, Schneider leads his patients through the eight principles of natural vision improvement: deep relaxation, adjustment to light, distance viewing, looking at details, periphery, balance of two eyes, balance use within each eye, and body-eye coordination.
He says that a myopic lifestyle leads to poor vision habits. Staring at a computer, or remaining transfixed on a cell phone for too long decrease the eyes’ abilities over time. He also believes that sunglasses are anti-productive, but he does have one use for them.
“We break sunglasses, that’s the only use I have for sunglasses,” says Schneider frankly. “We break one lens and put duck tape on the other lens, and it becomes an obstructive lens and we use that.
He frequently rubs his eyes, gently massaging them throughout the day, a technique he teaches his patients as well. Night walks and sunning are other practices he employees to strengthen various parts of the eye.
“The body sees well. We do things that make it not see well and we don’t compensate for what we do, and by not compensating we create all these problems.”
“Yoga for the Eyes” is a series of YouTube videos in which Schneider demonstrates how a person can quickly improve their vision. One of the methods, developed by Bates, but practiced by Tibetan yogis for thousands of years, is a palming practice, in which a patient cups his hands over his eyes. Schneider says that this is the most integral of all eye exercises because it both rests and energizes the eyes at the same time.
Lindsay Cartwright, a massage therapist and Schneider’s former operations manager, was hesitant to buy in at first.
“I was skeptical because his story is very grand,” she says. “But you see it’s not only true for him, but for a lot of the clients we have coming here. They have results that are just as miraculous. It’s not often the big stories you hear are true.”
Jeanne Harvey, 67, of Quebec City, Canada, had pseudo laminar dystrophy, which her ophthalmologist recommended treating with surgery. If left untreated, pseudo holes can lead to blindness. While waiting for the surgery she found out about Meir Schneider in a book, flew to San Francisco for one of his workshops and began practicing his exercises. Within a month her ophthalmologist told her she no longer needed surgery.
“My mother was blind, two of my uncles were blind, and my husband is blind,” says Harvey. “I’m very grateful to find Schneider and his work.”
Schneider has been acknowledged by many leading experts in the vision field, including August Reader III, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at California Pacific Medical Center. Reader says that he has personally seen improvement in his patients who have worked with Schneider.
Doctor Edward Kondrot, an ophthalmologist and homeopathic physician, is interested in Schneider’s work and focuses his own vision research on reversing chronic eye disease, with an emphasis on light. He says that ‘light at night’ is not normal for humans and it is the most dramatic environmental change in the last thirty years, a direct result of computer use and artificial light. He says the intensity of this light is much higher than natural light and the wavelength is much shorter—a dangerous combination.
In the face of miraculous results, Schneider, Kondrot and other natural vision healers remain ostracized by the traditional vision world.
Kondrot says mainstream ophthalmology and natural vision therapy are “two different approaches to healing and they will never agree.”
Schneider says the fathers of ophthalmology in America decided that vision cannot improve and the issue has never been revisited.
“It’s a false decision,” says Schneider. “I’ve disproven it thousands of times so far.”
He thinks most ophthalmologists and optometrists are merely students of their teachers and ignorant to natural vision improvement, but he also thinks there’s more to it than that. He says his accomplishments challenge the entire system and people are scared.
“The whole school is to give you a correction and you’re brought up in that thinking,” says Alfred Lee, 93, an optometrist on Sacramento Street in San Francisco.
Lee says that optical schools are starting to come around to natural vision techniques, but not too long ago an optometrist could get his license revoked if he tried something like what Schneider is doing.
“At that time if anything is out of the realm or not the way they want it you’re blacklisted,” says Lee.
The UC system came close to conducting a research study on Schneider’s techniques but eventually backed out. He’s still waiting for someone else to come calling. Meanwhile he continues to help people get out of glasses.
Schneider’s School for Self Healing is intended primarily for people with vision problems, but also for those who wish to improve various muscular issues, learn embodiment techniques, and increase mindfulness. It has a vocation school status, so not only does he work with patients, but he also trains people to teach his method of healing. Schneider has one-hundred seven instructors teaching his method of vision improvement in Brazil and many others teaching throughout the United States. His new book Vision for Life is available worldwide, printed in English, Spanish, German, Mandarin, Hebrew and Czech.
Unfortunately, he says there is one downside for the people that visit him.
“They have to contend with my terrible jokes.”

Outside Lands 2014: Festival Style & Trends

By Xpress Mag Staff





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  • Summer dresses and floppy hats are must-haves this season. Hadiha Nayebi pairs hers with an array of bohemian accessories and cutout ankle booties.
  • A knee-high socks and dress combo gives Andrea Rocca's outfit a retro feel.
  • Instead of wearing the usual denim cut-offs, Mikayla Wasiri rocks floral shorts.
  • Xpress Magazine Writer, Farnoush Amiri, looks boho chic in a crochet lace crop top and floral pants.
  • Summer hats give Talia Kalwani and her friend Erica Soto a '70s vibe.

BY FARNOUSH AMIRI

 

​San Franciscans and avid festival-goers came together for one last weekend before the end of the summer season for the 2014 Outside Lands music festival.

Undeterred by the cooling temperatures and the return of the ineludible fog, fashion enthusiasts swayed to headliners like Kanye West and the Killers while rocking crotchet tops, army jackets and printed bottoms.

While attending tastings at Wine Lands, getting henna tattooed and enjoying a set by local band, Grouplove, women of all ages rocked their best hipster/bohemian/San Franciscan looks that would only be socially acceptable at an event like this.

The overall theme of the seventh annual music festival was comfort, comfort and more comfort.

Unlike festivals such as Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival, locals and out-of-towners came ready for the ever-changing Bay Area weather. The key to surviving this three-day, non-stop fest was layers.

As the early afternoon bands took their places at the Panhandle and Twin Peaks stages, attendees rocked out in Summer-appropriate gear but as the Super Moon and headliners like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers came out, so did the beanies and cargo jackets.

One trend that was parading through the seven stages at the iconic Golden Gate Park was the ’70s printed bell-bottoms. This trend gave the music fan enough comfort to jump up and down to Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis while keeping warm and making a statement.

If you live in San Francisco or in any city that has four seasons (unlike Los Angeles), tights are a staple in any female’s wardrobe — instantly making a skirt and crop top cold weather appropriate.

August brings the Bay Area chill on in full force, and many festival-goers relied on trusty tights to avoid catching pneumonia while maintaining their festival style.

In any weather, Golden Gate Park’s thousand-plus acres of hills and mystical forests can get down and dirty, whether you are wandering aimlessly through the Digital Detox or running from the Killers stage to Tiesto’s light show.

The solution to the endless dirt and grass stains for this year’s attendees were boots of all styles and colors. The classic black bootie could be seen on almost every other flower child that weaved through the crowd of more than one-hundred thousand attendees on each night of the festival.

The last trend that (literally) capped off “festival fashion” season was an array of neutral colored fedoras and floppy hats that could be found flouncing on the heads of girls and boys alike over the three-day fest. This year-round appropriate accessory aided concert-goers from the rare rays of sunshine that blessed the music event and kept them a bit warmer as night fell.

With their flower crowns, knee-high socks, band-tees and fringe overload in tow, the people of Outside Lands enjoyed one of the best line-ups of any festival this summer, but made sure to stand out through the fog with their festive style that will sure be outdone next year.

 

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